I received quite a few messages after discussing how the recent Microsoft layoffs had affected some of the technical writers who covered topics such as High Availability and Information Protection for Exchange (on-premises and cloud). The decision came as a shock to everyone, not least those on whom the axe had fallen, because the general consensus was that the product documentation had been much improved over the last few versions.
Even with that improvement, as noted last week, it’s not as if every last piece of Exchange is well documented. Each new release brings its own challenges and twists and the work to explain the output of the developers is never complete.
Apart from TechNet, there’s also the question of conferences. People come to events to be educated and the role of speakers is to bring technology alive, to explain why things happen the way that they do, to acknowledge areas where care must be taken, and to make attendees aware of steps they should take in their deployments.
Some of those laid off were frequent and prolific contributors to conferences. I’m sure that others are willing to step up and take on the speaking role at events such as the recently announced Office 365 Summit “World Tour” and the TechEd replacement uber-conference scheduled for Chicago next May. But speaking is an art form in itself and I can’t help thinking that Microsoft’s effectiveness will be blunted through the loss of experienced speakers. Given that the introduction of a new version of Exchange will be a major focus next year, the loss could be keenly felt.
Life is hard at times and it’s important to keep a sense of perspective. To that end, I rather like the update made on September 21 to the TechNet documentation for the Suspend-MailboxDatabaseCopy cmdlet. The change is appropriate and accurate. Word has it that the update might have been made as the last act of a writer before they lost access to the Microsoft corporate network. For so many reasons this change deserves to persist and become part of Exchange folklore.
Don’t you wish that product documentation was always as pertinent?
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